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TheRockies.Life Staff

Amazon Investing Big in Alberta’s Renewable Potential, Why Isn’t Premier Smith?

Amazon's aim to fully operate on renewable energy by 2025, partly through wind and solar projects in Alberta

Amazon is an American multinational technology company, but you already know that. 

But did you know Amazon is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy?

The tech giant owns almost 500 wind and solar projects globally and is eyeing Vulcan County in southern Alberta for its next renewable energy project. 

Amazon made the announcement last week, marking the company’s fourth renewable energy investment in Canada. 

Guess what? All four of these investments are located in Alberta.

A Clean Energy Commitment Ahead of its Time!

So, what makes our province so attractive to Jeff Bezos and his company? 

Well, our abundant wind and solar potential is the main calling card.

Like many companies, Amazon is scrambling to meet its environmental pledges. 

In Amazon’s case, that means meeting its target to power its operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025

Wow! 

A lot can be done when you have a can-do attitude.

It might sound like an unrealistic goal, but 90 percent of the electricity consumed by Amazon in 2022 was from renewable energy sources. 

The company is five years ahead of its original goal of 2030. 

That puts Alberta’s commitment to net zero by 2050 look pale in comparison. If foreign corporations can fast-track our solar and wind for clean energy, why can’t Albertans?

The Travers Solar Project, which uses about 1.3 million solar panels, in Vulcan County | Greengate Power

Alberta Powered

Two Amazon fulfillment centres, and several other Amazon facilities are in Alberta.

These facilities must quickly transition to wind and solar power to achieve the company’s ambitious environmental goals.

So far, Amazon has invested in a small solar farm in Newell County and a rooftop solar energy project at an Amazon delivery station in Nisku. 

The company also opened the Travers Solar Project in Vulcan County last year, which the government proudly advertises as the largest North American solar farm on its website.

According to Stantec, the engineering services company that helped build the Travers Solar Project, the existing Vulcan project can power over 160,000 homes and offset almost 625,000 tons of carbon pollution annually.

Amazon’s latest renewable energy project is a 495-megawatt wind farm in Vulcan County and is the company’s first wind farm in Canada. 

Amazon’s wind farm is set to become the largest in Canada.

Amazon’s first fulfillment centre in the Edmonton area | CTV News

Renewables Setback? 

But what about the Alberta government’s moratorium on renewable energy

Amazon partnered with developer Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to bring the project to life.

The project was initially owned by German renewable energy developer ABO Wind AG, but CIP bought the project last year before the moratorium was announced.

Amazon’s wind farm was technically approved before Premier Danielle Smith interfered with our province’s renewable energy potential.

The moratorium pauses all new renewable energy projects in the province. Projects approved before the moratorium are safe. 

Different rules for different players? 

Inconsistency is another example of unfair government energy policies across the sector where oil and gas are favoured first and renewables fall a distant second.

Alberta has the highest solar and wind energy potential out of any province and was the leading province in Canada for renewables.

If big companies like Amazon are drooling over Alberta-based renewable energy projects, you can bet other companies are too.  

The question is, will Premier Smith’s renewables moratorium deter other investments in Alberta wind and solar projects?

Time will tell.

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